The Joy Of Having Your Identity Stolen
Apparently I bought $4,000 worth of appliances for my property company the other day at a big box hardware store 60 miles from my home.
Problem is I don't have a property company. Nor would I drive around the block to a big box hardware store much less 60 miles because going to a big box hardware store signals an intent to fix stuff around the house, which I most definitely do not want to do, especially after the "Great Plumbing Disaster of 2009," as it's come to be known in household lore.
Nor do I need $4,000 worth of appliances. (My wife would probably disagree.)
So, yeah, my identity was stolen.
Before I go into the tsunami of joy and ease this has brought to my life, I'd like to take a moment to thank the people who made it all possible.
First and foremost, thanks to the guy who – instead of getting a job - used my Social Security number and birthdate to apply for and successfully open a credit card in my name. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. I only hope I someday get a chance to express my gratitude in person. Let's meet and discuss, shall we? (Ignore that baseball bat in my hands. I just like to carry it around. You know, for fun. Say, those are nice kneecaps you have there.)
Second, thanks to the hardware chain. That's one tough credit process you got there: Show up, fill out papers, buy lots and lots of stuff, then go. I sure hope you helped him load his truck so he didn't hurt his back. (Uh, one question: Didn't a bulb go off in anyone's head that it's a bit unusual for a guy to buy that much stuff so far from the address on his fake I.D.? Of course it didn't. Merry Christmas to you.)
Finally, thanks to the company and/or government agency that made it so easy to get my information. I'd send you a personal letter of appreciation except I don't know which one of you is to blame. Could be Blue Cross, could be the IRS, could be any of dozens of entities. No matter, you're all special. Thank you.
What a great time this has been. After weeks of talking with police, contacting credit bureaus, filling out paperwork, waiting on hold, talking endlessly with customer support representatives with Indian accents, checking and re-checking accounts, changing passwords and living with the looming fear of being financially wipes out, here is what I think: Forget ISIS. What's going to bring this country to its knees is hackers.
Actually, we're already there. Or as ZDNet recently put it: "The chances are your data was leaked this year (2015). In 2014 alone, more than one billion personal records were illegally accessed -- including health, financial, email and home address data, and other personal information like Social Security numbers. That's up more than 54 percent on the year prior. This year, there's no sign of let-up."
Doesn't that give you the warm fuzzies? It does me. So much so I'd like to propose two things:
One, that as a nation we go back to a cash-only system. Yes, this would make buying something on EBay difficult but, hey, what do you want convenience or security? Maybe we start equipping computers with little dollar bill acceptors.
Two, we quintuple whatever penalties we have in place for hackers and hacked info users. Actually, I'm not opposed at all to the death penalty. Seriously.
Although I'd settle for knee-capping.